The empty ‘Chyawanprash’ containers near the makeshift kitchen at the elephant camp say it all – that the elephants have been having a healthy, nutritious diet, as prescribed by the veterinary doctors.
The camp managers say that the elephants get to have the nutritious diet twice a day – morning before bath and early evening, walk eight to 10 km on the walking track, twice a day and have loads of green fodder. A few of those elephants also undergo special medication, if their condition warrants one.
‘Valli’, a female elephant from the Koodal Azhagar Perumal Koil, Madurai, and ‘Vedanayagi’ another female elephant from Bhavani, Erode, are two such elephants. Based on veterinarians’ prescription, the managers are treating the two for foot rot disease. The elephants get to immerse their legs in a decoction of seven chemicals, a traditional formula, to get over the problem.
The foot rot sets in when the elephants are obese, or stand on hard surface or bitumen-topped roads for long with very little movement. Likewise, two other elephants are also undergoing eye treatment to overcome the ‘watery eye’ problem. This occurs when the elephants’ living atmosphere is hot. The managers say that the ingredients of the food and the quantity given to the elephants vary from one to another.